When I was offered a chance to take a class with Jack Grayle about Hekatean Devotion and Magic in the Hellenic Age at the online Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary in exchange for writing a blog post about it, I didn’t hesitate to accept. I had attended his Dionysian workshop and ritual at last year’s Pagan Spirit Gathering, which was both informative and transcendent. His organization and attention to detail made me want to keep in touch with him, just in case he presented a workshop or ritual anywhere near me in the future.
This class was like a workshop at a pagan festival, only it was way more in depth and had reading materials galore. The people who worked at the Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary were helpful and quick to respond when they registered me. When I had a problem logging into the first skype class, someone responded almost immediately to assist.
‘Hekatean Devotion and Magic in the Hellenic Age’ was an eight week course that met for an hour at 10 pm EST. It was a little late for me, but not too bad. I’m a night owl.
Around the time of the class, the everyone logged onto skype and live-chatted in a message feed. Jack was the only one on camera. Our photos or initials appeared in a collage on the screen. The students could turn their microphones on to ask questions, but mostly, we were quiet, chatting and asking questions in the message side-bar.
Before this, I had never attended an online class before. I found it was nice, as I was able to listen to interesting material and multi-task. During class, I did yoga, cleaned the kitchen, practiced fire dancing, walked around my house, folded laundry, and more. I learned quickly to keep my book of shadows nearby to jot down notes. Of course, I certainly wasn’t multi-tasking all the time. There were times when all I wanted to do was take notes.
After class was over, we chatted with the teacher and asked questions. Jack is a knowledgable, welcoming person, and questions were answered thoughtfully.
I especially liked the homework assignments. Some of the readings were expected, such as passages from the Chaldean Oracles, and works by Hesiod, Ovid, Apollonius, Shakespeare, and Apuleius, but others were rare, like Crowley, an ancient magical manual known as the PGM, and more. Each week, there was a practical application assignment, which included writing personal statements, performing ritualistic elements, creating art, and more. These were powerful accompaniments to the class, which made it all come together in a very magical way.
The only drawback of the class was the skype aspect, probably because I don’t know the software very well. For example, the first three classes, I wasn’t sure if my video camera was on because the icon didn’t have a line through it. After messing with the program, I discovered the camera on my laptop wasn’t on unless there was a green light on near the camera. I had another problem finding the link to enter the skype class. However, once I loaded the Office 365 email and opened a class reminder, I was able to find the link to the skype class.
I highly recommend this class and the academy to anyone who wants to pursue more knowledge or even a degree from a reputable place. I think you’ll find that you’ll be among very cool, friendly people who yearn for deeper understanding, just as you do. I made friends there and will miss my time spent in class amongst them. I wish the class hadn’t ended. If it could have gone on for another eight weeks, I would have enjoyed it so much. This probably means I should take another class. They have a few interesting ones to choose from. Here are the classes offered in late Summer 2018.
Let me know if you have any questions about the class or my experience. I’d be happy to answer them.